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Consumer Group Urges President to Select NOAA Administrator Who Will Change Course on Catch Shares

14 December 2012

US - Consumer groups are urging President Obama to select a NOAA administrator who will change the course on catch shares. Wenonah Hauter, Executive Director of Food & Water Watch said the previous catch share programmes have unfairly portioned out the privileged.

“While National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA)’s Jane Lubchenco has just announced her resignation, the credentials her successor should possess has already been in the forefront of our minds for some time. We hope that President Obama takes this opportunity to select a new administrator who recognises how destructive catch shares programmes have been to our nation’s fishermen and that he is prepared change course in the area of fisheries management.

“As administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Ms Lubchenco’s catch shares programmes have unfairly portioned out the privilege to catch fish, threatening the livelihoods of current and future generations of independent fishermen and the communities they support. NOOA’s new administrator should acknowledge that fish are a public resource to which our nation’s fishermen should have equal access and should not support a programme that puts fishermen out of work as it has in some of our most critical port cities over the last few years.

“NOAA’s controversial catch shares programmes, which are responsible for thousands of fishermen being pushed out of business, have failed to directly improve the sustainability of our fisheries. Masked as a solution to the problem of overfishing various species of fish, catch shares — an allotment or quota given to a fisherman, usually leased out for profit — grant fishing privileges to private, commercial interests, therefore presenting commercial operations a competitive advantage over smaller, independent fishing operations.”

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